Fresno's seedy motels along Highway 99 turned into housing units for homeless families

'We transformed this area from an epicenter of drug trafficking and sex trafficking to a place where our most vulnerable population can now say is home.'
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Some Fresno families dealing with homelessness due to the pandemic have been able to move into newly renovated housing units.

No longer can people rent rooms along Motel Drive by the hour.

The city of Fresno bought four blighted motels along Highway 99 to help families and individuals dealing with a housing crisis.

The motels being used were long part of the city's seedy past.

Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer said, "We transformed this area from an epicenter of drug trafficking and sex trafficking to a place where our most vulnerable population can now say is home."

The change to the renovated rooms has been dramatic.

Families who felt they had nowhere to turn have been able to get a fresh start.

Fresno City Councilmember Miguel Arias said, "It's not just about the renovation of the motels, these motels come with wraparound services for those who are coming here and living here. Mental health, drug treatment, three meals a day."

Arias estimated more than 2,000 more people in Fresno will become homeless following the lifting of an eviction moratorium.

The city was looking to buy a fifth motel and convert that one as well.

Fresno Housing Authority CEO Preston Prince said, "The goal over the next five years is to turn this into permanent housing and that transformation means there will be mixed income. We'll have new construction."

In addition to Motel Drive, motels along Parkway Drive have also been identified for future renovation projects.
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